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Wicket leaves hosts red-faced

Efforts are on to fly in Australian curator Les Burdett so that the minefield can be converted into a strip suitable for Twenty20, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Apr 22, 2008 02:46 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

After the disaster of a match caused by the pitch that got overshadowed by the Shah Rukh Khan’s presence, the people concerned are now thinking of remedial measures. Efforts are on to fly in Australian curator Les Burdett so that the minefield can be converted into a strip suitable for T20.

It has been learnt that Jay Mehta, husband of Juhi Chawla and stakeholder of Red Chillies Entertainment that owns the IPL Kolkata team, has asked the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) whether it was open to this idea after Sunday’s low-scoring shocker at Eden Gardens. The CAB has agreed to the proposal although it's not clear when the Adelaide-based expert would arrive or what solutions he would suggest.

There was uproar within the local cricket fraternity because of the way the ball moved and bounced awkwardly during the match between the Kolkata and Hyderabad teams. Visiting captain V.V.S. Laxman called it “shocking” while everyone else felt it was not fit for any form of cricket, forget Twenty20, which demands a flat surface that helps stroke making. Cricket Association of Bengal president, Prasun Mukherjee, sounded let down by the people he had assigned to ensure that the pitch catered to the needs of this version of slam-bang cricket. “Even two days before the match I was assured that the pitch would assist stroke-play. Now that this has happened, I will discuss the issue on Tuesday with all those concerned,” he said, adding that this meeting couldn't be held on Monday because of the bandh called by the Trinamool Congress to protest rising prices.

Mukherjee is expected to sit with Kolkata captain Sourav Ganguly, coach John Buchanan and curator Kalyan Mitra when the team comes for practice in the afternoon. “It was something expected to be done by the people designated to do it, but since that has not happened, we have to look for a solution. The CAB has no problem if they (Red Chillies) get someone from Australia,” he said.

It was surprising that Mitra, who obviously knows a thing or two about pitches, had left the surface so dry that the upper surface started crumbling soon after the start. “He is paid to do this job so he is answerable too,” said Mukherjee, but refused to speculate whether this would cost Mitra his job. He did mention, however, that the ensuing matches would be played on a different strip.